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MPP Policy Internships

The Cal Poly Political Science Department offers course credit for supervised work experience in public, private, and non-profit organizations that use the skills relevant to policy analysis and problem-solving. The intern will function as any employee engaged in comparable work. Internships provide students the opportunities to exchange responsible service for first-hand experiences of organizational life. Students complement classroom and laboratory learning with that of the work world. Internships may be paid or unpaid.

Course Credit

Students are required to complete an internship (POLS 586) as preparation for professional practice. Faculty and staff assist in placing interns in a government, non-profit or private organization that uses the skills relevant to policy analysis and problem solving. Internships may be paid or unpaid, depending on the organization.

Internships can serve a variety of functions, depending on your interest. The main objective is to provide you a professional experience utilizing the skills and knowledge learned in the classroom. Beyond this, you can use the internship to springboard into a permanent job, to obtain specialized knowledge or some combination of the above.

Recent Internship Placement

Applied Behavior Analysis
Association of California School Administrators
The Becky Fund, Peru
California State Assembly Intern with Katcho Achadjian
California State Senate Intern with Sam Blakeslee (Maddy Institute)
Cambria Community Services District, Fiscalini Ranch
City of Atascadero
City of Guadalupe
City of Mountain View
City of Pasadena, Housing Department
City of San Luis Obispo, Public Works Department
City of San Luis Obispo, Utilities Conservation Department
Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo County
Congressional Sportsmen Foundation,Washington, DC
Congresswoman Lois Capps, Washington, DC
County of San Luis Obispo, County Administrative Office
County of San Luis Obispo, County Probation Department
County of San Luis Obispo, Department of Public Health
U.S. Department of State
First 5, San Luis Obispo County
Heritage Watch
Gallo Coastal Winegrowing
Northwest Federation of Community Organization, Portland, OR
Port San Luis Harbor District
Port San Luis Lighthouse Keepers
Public Policy Solutions
Santa Maria Valley Humane Society
Shaw Power Group
SLO County Integrated Waste Management Authority
The Sonoran Institute
Tobacco Control Program
Vandenberg Village Community Services District

If you have completed 12 units of graduate study, you are eligible for an internship. The faculty coordinator must approve of the internship prior to arranging for credit. By University policy, you must be enrolled in internship units via POLS 586 during internship work; this requirement includes internships completed over the summer. The course has credit/no credit grading based on successful completion of internship hours and appropriate documentation.

At the beginning of your internship, you must have the internship site supervisor submit a letter to your internship professor that details the hours, duration of position, type of work, responsibilities and whether or not the internship is paid. Any special responsibility or project you negotiate may be stated in the letter, which serves as an informal contract for you, the organization and the university. At the end of your internship, you must have your internship site supervisor submit a letter to your internship professor that indicates successful completion of the internship hours and work. Additionally, at the end of the internship, you must submit a reflection paper that, at a minimum, discusses the work you completed, presents the lessons you learned and compares those lessons to relevant coursework.

Arranging an Internship

The University serves as a clearinghouse for internship placement. Graduate policy internships are designed to fit each student’s interest. While the University and the department identify and refer opportunities to you and will work with you to identify meaningful and relevant experiences, ultimately successful placement is your responsibility. Key strategies for identification include networking, referral and web-site announcements, frequently forwarded by the Director. Often the most crucial key to successful placement is starting early.

 The University has cooperative arrangements with the California State University at Sacramento, which operates an internship program in Sacramento. Additionally, the Washington Center provides internship placement in the Washington, DC area. Information sheets on internships are located in the Hallway 11 of Building 47.

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